Walters Column - December 5, 1999

Special to 0-A News
from Walter Albritton
for Sunday, December 5, 1999

What does it take to get us to notice people in need?

His name was Josh, a successful young executive in Chicago. He had worked hard, made a lot of money, and drove a sleek Jaguar XJS.

Cruising down a neighborhood street one day, he slowed down, not wanting to hit one of the kids he saw darting in and out between parked cars. Suddenly he noticed a brick flying through the air and into the side of his shiny Jaguar. A brick! Some crazy kid had thrown a brick into his expensive car.

Slamming on his brakes, he burned rubber as he backed up and jumped out of his car to confront the kid who had thrown the brick. He grabbed the boy and roughly pushed him up against a parked car.

Angry beyond words, Josh shouted at the kid, "What's wrong with you, boy? Look at what you have done to my car. That brick is going to cost you a lot of money, and maybe a night or two in jail. Why on earth did you throw that brick?"

The boy, trembling with fear as tears streamed down his cheeks, cried, "Please, mister, please don't hit me. I'm sorry I hit your car, but I didn't know what else to do to get help. I threw the brick because no one else would stop."

"What are you talking about?" Josh asked, his anger unabated.

"It's my brother, mister," he said, pointing to an older boy lying on the sidewalk. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up."

Still sobbing the boy asked pitifully, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."

The young executive was suddenly speechless. He let go of the sobbing boy and carefully lifted his brother back into the wheelchair. Then he took out an expensive handkerchief and wiped the cuts and bruises on the boy's hands and knees.

"Can you get your brother home now, son?" Josh asked. "Yes sir, I can," he replied, "and thank you so much for stopping to help me." Josh stood watching as the boy pushed his brother down the side walk.

Then he walked slowly back to his Jaguar, stared at the damaged door, picked up the brick and placed it on the floor board of his car.

By now Josh had somehow forgotten where he had been going in such a hurry. And he never did get the side door of his Jaguar fixed.

Sometimes it takes something like a brick to get our attention, to help us forget about own problems long enough to notice the people all around us who need help.

As you move with lightning speed toward Christmas, watch out for flying bricks. And remember, whether you are in a Jaguar or riding a donkey, there are lots of people around you who could use a helping hand.